Packaging Assessment Workflow – A 6 Step Process
The interactive packaging assessment tool is based on a six-step process guiding the user from taking stock of their current context, to developing a sustainable packaging strategy or roadmap.
Take stock of your current packaging context
Compile documents and notes that help define the context for your packaging decision making. This includes corporate sustainability goals, commitments (e.g., CPP), instructions from key customers who have related goals, relevant regulation (current, coming), etc.
Define the scope of assessment
Based on the current packaging context, identify your “hot-spots” – the incumbent packaging for which you need or wish to assess and consider sustainable alternatives. This can range from a select packaging form, a group of similar packaging, or a general class of packaging.
e.g., Users can range from small firms with low SKU count, to large firms with high SKU count. Consequently, the incumbent packaging could comprise:
- a select packaging form (e.g., a 0.5L PET clam shell)
- a grouping of similar packaging (e.g., all rigid PET packaging), or
- a general class of packaging (e.g., all flexible packaging)
Establish a baseline
Evaluate the incumbent packaging identified in Step 2 by responding to the core challenge questions provided in the assessment guide. Provide supporting comments or outstanding questions as needed to document your assessment.
Use the recommended reference material, as needed, in developing your responses.
Identify alternative sustainable solutions to assess
Select sustainable packaging options and/or specific solutions you wish to assess against your incumbent packaging assessed in Step 3.
Assess and compare the alternative solutions
Evaluate the alternative packaging options and/or solutions by responding to the core challenge questions provided in the assessment guide. Provide supporting comments or outstanding questions as needed to document your assessment.
Use recommended reference material, as needed, in developing your responses.
Develop your packaging sustainability action plan or roadmap
Use the resulting scores and comments from the heat map to develop work plan to fully assess alternatives based on your preliminary assessment.
Core Challenge Questions – Framing the Assessment of Sustainable Packaging
Central to the assessment of both incumbent packaging and any sustainable packaging alternatives is a set of core challenge questions defined for each of the packaging environmental and effectiveness considerations. There are currently 14 core challenge questions which span the set of considerations:
- Consumer Choice, Availability, Accessibility & Convenience
- Does the packaging maximize product choice and availability?
- Does the packaging provide consumer accessibility and convenience?
- Ensuring Compliance with Food Safety Regulations
- Does the package meet safety, quality and food-contact compliance standards?
- Minimizing Food Waste
- How effective and functional is my packaging in reducing food waste in relation to financial and environmental considerations?
- Cost & Return on Investment
- Is the packaging cost effective?
- Labelling, Branding and Marketing
- Is the packaging compliant with Canadian labelling regulations and related standards?
- Does the packaging support your companies branding and marketing requirements?
- Minimizing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Other Environmental Impacts
- Do you have information about your packaging’s greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts?
- Minimizing Plastic Waste
- Is the packaging considered recyclable in Canada?
- Does the packaging comply with one or more of the CGF’s Golden Design Rules?
- Minimizing Plastic Pollution
- Does the packaging minimize or even prevent littering in the environment?
The Interactive Assessment Tool – Accessing the Assessment Portal
For users who wish to utilize the interactive tool, an interactive assessment portal will guide the user thru the six-step process, including responding to the core challenge questions. Users will be able to save their work in progress and return to it as needed.